Blog Entry

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Posted on: July 28, 2010 5:37 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 12:12 am
Posted by Matt Moore

Not everyone gets to go to Istanbul (not Constantinople ). Today Team USA officials revealed the roster finalists that will head to New York for the last round of cuts before starting international play for this summer's FIBA World Championships. Royce has told you all about who made it. But who got cut?

Just as we told you earlier that FanHouse had reported , Tyreke Evans, Gerald Wallace, O.J. Mayo and JaVale McGee were cut from the roster before the team heads to New York.  Evans was known for a while, as he tweaked his ankle at the start of camp and was going to be unavailable for the team regardless. The others, though, represent a set of confusing decisions that aren't extremely perplexing, but are enough to make you scratch your head, especially when you examining who they were replaced with. Some of these could be due to conflicts, personality clashes, or injury, but based on basketball, there are some question marks.

These players who made the cut were locks, and should have been:

1. Kevin Durant: Best player available.
2. Chauncey Billups: Veteran leadership.
3. Lamar Odom: Who doesn't want a space cadet small forward with great length who occasionally is dominant?
4. Danny Granger: Good at basketball.
5. Andre Iguodala: His reputation preceds his game. By miles.
6. Tyson Chandler: Big, which USA has none of right now.
7. Brook Lopez: Ditto, despite his game not being well suited for FIBA play.
8. Stephen Curry: A prolific shooter with passing skills and range. Perfect for Coach K, perfect for FIBA.
9. Kevin Love: Seriously. No bigs. Need bigs.
10. Rudy Gay: Has looked like he actually is worth the money he earned this summer, and they need a true SF with multiple combo-forwards on roster.

But then there are these five.

11. Jeff Green: Tweener that's not a great rebounder, provides range and versatility on a roster stacked with perimeter players.
12. Rajon Rondo: Not a great mid-range shooter, seemed to dog it in the Team USA scrimmage. Coach K did say on a conference call that he and Rondo have a good relationship.
13. Russell Westbrook: Fiery, great penetration guard, but it's a roster chock full of them. Seems superfluous next to Curry, Rondo, and Billups.
14. Derrick Rose: Same deal.
15. Eric Gordon: Wait, what?

Wallace is able to play the 3 or the 4, unlike Gay, is a better rebounder than Iggy, and is a better defender than Granger. If you're shopping for a versatile player that doesn't have to score (due to the roster being stuffed with scorers), Wallace is a great combination of all of the above. Sure, he doesn't have Iguodala's inability to create his own shot or Gay's penchant for electing for 20 foot jumpers, but it's hard to see how they could have thought his effort wasn't enough.

McGee makes sense, from the perspective of needing a more well-rounded offensive attack at center. Except why then is Tyson Chandler likely to start? Terrific defender, no doubt, but his injury issues have to be a concern (even more so for the Mavs), and unless Chris Paul is lobbing him alley-oops from the other side of the planet, his offensive weaponry is largely a bust. Green was put on roster, despite being a perimeter stretch four among a sea of great three point shooters. Wouldn't McGee's energy and size been a better fit for the roster?

Mayo, however, makes up the most egregious exclusion. Apparently the plan is to throw out multiple point guard lineups and have the other spread the floor. Except that Rondo's not a tremendous three point shooter. But they did throw in Eric Gordon. Who Mayo has shown to be better at in nearly every relevant shooting and scoring category. Considering Gordon's size, defense can't be the reason. In the end, you have to wonder if this was simply a case of Mayo not being a "Coach K kind of guy" and with no real advocate on roster, fell to the side. Either that or he suffered an injury. It just seems odd to have a plan of versatile fast shooters, then leave one at home.

But then, the man did win Gold two years ago, so obviously he knows a thing or two about what he's doing. We'll see if he can pull it off without the monster-roster he had then.

The next round of cuts should come next month before the team leaves for Europe in a series of warm-up matches to the World Championships.

Since: Jul 29, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 2:55 pm

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Everyone is talking as if this is the final roster.  When August 26 rolls around a few of these questionable names will be gone.  I am a huge supporter of Rose, and I respect Westbrook and Rondo, but at least one or two of those names will be scratched off.  This is more an argument against players that will be cut next. 

What many people also forget is that these national teams are a great way to gain positive exposure.  You have to believe that coach K's main objective will always be to put together the most talented team, but he is also pushed to invite exciting players on board.  Rose, Gordon, Westbrook, and Iquodola are all exciting and athletic playmakers.  These are the types of players that are fun to watch, and also welcome a different style a play than all the teams are used to seeing. 

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:59 pm

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

ShyGuy96, the reason that Granger has a worse shooting percentage than Wallace is because Wallace gets a lot of layups through fast breaks, and in the post off O boards. Granger, is the center piece of Indiana and faces the Ron Artests, the Tayshaun Prince's, the Shane Battier's NIGHT IN AND NIGHT OUT. Plus he is expected to take more shots, which just means that the fact of the odds are that he will miss more since he takes more and that lowers the percentage.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:55 pm

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Perhaps Coach K wanted to keep some form of chemistry on the team. Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook both play with Durant. Maybe it wasn't that he felt Green or Gordon were better than Wallace and Mayo, but that they would accept their role better or something like that. I think what made the team so great in '08 at the games was that they were a team. Obviously I am aware that they had superstars left and right but players like Deron Williams Chris Paul and even Chris Bosh were willing to step back come off the bench in search of a higher cause. The NBA is shifting out of the "do it all by myself" "try to be the next Jordan" era back to a do what it takes to win era. Look at LeBron, he sacraficed his legacy in many ways to WIN TITLES. He has started something that is great for the NBA in many ways but BAD overall for the competition. Its great that players want to win titles but if all the superstars form "Big Three's" then there will be like 6 great NBA teams, 10 good NBA teams, 5 bad NBA teams, and like 9 laughing stock teams.

Since: Sep 20, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:20 pm

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Gerald Wallace should be on the team. He is better than half the players on the roster and the numbers support that. I am, slos in favor with Rondo being on the team.. Hell, Rondo could even start.. I am not saying Rondo is better than Derrick Rose. But the way Rondo has played the past 2 seasosn, AND the way he played in the playoffs when it mattered most, I wouldn't argue Rondo playing. But Back to Gerald Wallace... I don't know what this love fest is Russell Westbrook, for everone.. The guy is fast and can jump, but so can everyone else now.. The numbers show that Westbrook isn't that great of choice for THIS team, since there are already 3-4 point guards on the team, better than him..

Gerald Wallace- 18.2 points, 10 rebounds pergame. 48% from the field and 37% from 3 point range.

O.J. Mayo- 17.5 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds per game. 45% from the field & 38% from 3 point range

Now, you want to give up 7 more reounds per game, more block shots, 3 points higher field goal percentage, just because Mayo shoots 1 percentage point higher from 3 point range.. PLEASE

Gerald Wallace- 18.2 points, 10 rebounds pergame. 48% from the field and 37% from 3 point range.

Danny Granger- 24 points, 5 rebounds per game.. 42% from the field and 36% from 3 point range..

And I thought Danny Granger was supposed to be a better shooter.. He doesn't shoot better from the field or from 3 point range as Gerald Wallace.. Factor in 5 boards a game less and less block shots and Gerald Wallace seems like the better player here too.. All Danny Granger does better than Gerald Wallace is shoot the ball more times, by far..

Gerald Wallace- 18.2 points, 10 rebounds pergame. 48% from the field and 37% from 3 point range.

Russell Westbrook- 16 points, 8 assists.. 41% from the field and 22% from 3 point range..

I know Westbrook is a guard, but doesn't that mean he is supposed to shoot the ball better than "average offensive" Gerald Wallace?? 22% from 3 point range is laughable.. With all the point guards USA has, Westbrook could be left at home. And people say Rondo can't shoot.. Westbrooks barely shoots 40% from the field and barely shoots 20% from 3 point range.


I think Evans, Green, Mayo, and Westbrook should have been the cuts

Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:12 pm

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Not surprised they decided to keep Oklahoma's big 3 in the mix heading to the final cuts.

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 10:31 am

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Rondo is about a 65% FT shooter. Please don't confuse him with Shaq.

Since: Jul 29, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 10:20 am

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

I am seriously confused by your comments that Derrick Rose is the 14th player on Team USA.

Are you going to be upset when he is announced the starter at PG? 

He is the 2nd or 3rd best player on the team and yet you are saying that he has no shot.  He was not the best 3 point shooter last year,
but he was a 48% FG shooter and 70%+ from the FT line.

Rondo shoots below 50% from the line and is a marginal shooter at best.  He does bring defense and a high basketball IQ.  I hate the guy but he is good.

I reject your arguements about the 2 of them and I think that you did not really watch Rose play this year.

Basically, I agree with his cuts and I would agree that Jeff Green, Westbrook and either Gordon or Curry will be the final one cut.

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2010 7:30 am

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

I think the "Good at basketball" was purposely brief and simple. It's an obvious understatement done for effect.

It's like in Billy Madison when he's having the Academic Decathlon and Eric plays a great piece on the violin. Billy just toots on a clarinet for a second, stops, and just says "He's good."

Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:04 am

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

I just like the analysis of Danny Granger: "Good at basketball." Just like everyone else who plays professional basketball. I think Matt Moore just got a little lazy with that one.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2010 11:36 pm

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

I like what he says about Granger......"Good at basketball".......ummmmmm I think that they all are!!!  When Derrick Rose's D catches up to his ability and when his shot gets better, he will be a top three point guard in the league.

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